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|Year and Month||July, 2012 (28th-29th)|
|Number of Days||Two day trip|
|Crew||5 (between 22-23 years of age)|
|Accommodation||At the resting place on the summit|
|Weather||Extreme weather conditions(in off-season) closer to the summit: thick mist, heavy rains and cold|
|Route||Colombo -> Kuruwita (on A4) -> Erathna -> Adavikanda -> Sri Pada and return on the same route.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remar||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Since my friends and I had some free time amid closed universities, we decided to seek some adventure: a hike that was in our minds for a long time, an off season journey to Adam’s peak and we chose Kuruwita-Erathna trail.
It was almost 6 in the morning when we got off the bus at Kuruwita with a crew of five, had our breakfast and got some directions from a local. Fortunately we could catch the bus to Adavikanda which lies in between Kuruwita and the trail head and get closer to our destination. Within one hour the bus reached its final stop, Adavikanda (It was 7.45 am) and there on it was a 20 minute walk to the trail head.
Right from the beginning it was a continuous climb. We could clearly see ‘Kuruganga’ flowing down the valley right besides the trail. As we climbed up it was just a matter of time when we found out that the leeches had already begun to trouble us, so stopped by a little resting place we found, removed those blood suckers. It was only about a 45 minute hike from the starting point and we had an added crew member! It was doggy dog! and believe me when I say that this guy turned out be a real low-cost guide for us and stayed with us throughout the entire journey till the end.
So the resting place, this is where we met a guy, a technician working in the hydro power plant, water collection center(located 2km from the trail head, there were 2 working 2-day shifts). He told us to apply salt as a precaution against the leeches and truly it was like a magical repellent that the leeches were trying to move away from the salt.
Back to the journey, from there we didn’t stop until we reached the place called ‘Warnagala’ and where the ‘Warnagala Ambalama’ which was used to be a permanent resting place now aged and decayed. The water collection center was close by and Warnagala falls was just about 100 meters away. I almost forgot, on the way we found a lot of plants bearing fruits especially sour guavas, there were huge trees full of them and we just couldn’t help ourselves filling our bellies.
So next we arrived at the place called Thummodara. An ‘Ambalama’ a resting place was there. We had just arrived into a valley connecting two mountains. The trail was leading to the other mountain, so we had to cross the river, it seemed to be a branch of ‘Kuruganga’ but at that place it was called ‘Seethagangula’ (means cold river) and of course as the name implies water was freezing cold. After a little snack break we continued our journey.
Then after about 2 hours we arrived at the place called ‘Idikatupahana’ and for the first time this was the moment we saw the peak of Sri Pada through the clouds but to reach it seemed that there were still 3 mountains to pass. It was about 1.30 pm and we decided to have our lunch at ‘Idikatupahana’. A larger resting place was also there but it was also worn out. Didn’t waste any time, we were back to our journey within half an hour.
Next we arrived at the place where Kuruwita-Erathna trail and Ranthnapura-Palabathgala trail meets. Our journey through the forest wilderness seemed to be over because from there on we had the steps to climb though they were seemed to be somewhat irregular, about another 2.5 km to the trail end, the peak. It was getting colder, the vegetation was noticeably different, they were adapted to cold weather conditions. ‘Heramitipahana’ the next famous place, as we arrived there the peak was clearly visible rising up in the sky. The mist was invading the area and we had to put out jackets on since it was getting much colder and headed for ‘Mahagiridabhaya’ (means great rock climb), the steepest climb you would ever find in the whole journey(there were almost 90 degree slopes). This part of the journey was truly the best like I had never ever experienced in my life before, the scenery was so breathtaking that made us felt like floating in the heaven and of course I must say our timing was perfect, it was around 4 in the evening.
By the time we started climbing ‘Mahagiridabhaya’ it was windy with mist and much colder even with our jackets on we couldn’t stand the cold. Finally after an almost 11 hours of journey at about 6.30pm we reached the peak. It was dark and fortunately the ‘Wishrama shalawa’ resting place on the peak of Sri Pada was not locked otherwise our only hope was to descend via Hatton-Nallathanni trail as it was almost impossible to descend through Erathna trail at night in off-season. We decided to spend the night at the resting place. There were a Buddhist monk and two other in the terrace and they were kind enough to give us mats and some cloths to sleep and even helped us preparing our dinner.
No one could sleep the whole night because of the cold, not to mention there was one who groaned for sometime 🙂 I had never experienced that much cold in my life, just like put into a defreezer. Next day at dawn the terrace was getting crowded with tourists. They had used Hatton-Nallathanni trail to ascend. Last night we had decided to start descending at dawn, but it was almost impossible amid the strong winds and the cold weather condition, and even unable to step out of the resting place. It was about 5.30 in the morning when darkness started to roll back. But not much difference it did because of the thick mist. So we waited and started descending at 7am but still the weather conditions were the same-thick mist and strong winds with rain.
The decent was through the same trail we ascended. We were fortunate enough to experience more and more breathtaking scenery. As soon as ‘Mahagiridabhaya’ was finished climbing down we added some pace and stopped only for a water break.
After a long way down close to ‘Idikatupahana’ near a stream fresh elephant dung was found along with scattered fresh leaves all over the place. At the first glance we could tell elephants were there within the last hour. Samanala nature reserve is famous for ‘midget’ elephants. Actually it’s amazing how these elephants travel through these mountains and make these steep climbs. Moving on our next stop was at ‘Thummodara’ where ‘Seethagangula’ was. There we had a little breakfast. Next was at Warnagala, everybody was in the mood to have a bath and have a little fun at Warnagala falls. Even though it was noon water was cold as hell, It was about 1pm.
Then came the most adventurous part in our journey that’s when we decided to descend along ‘Kuruganga’ the river. Wow! that was one amazing experience and at the same time a very dangerous task. Even we couldn’t believe our own eyes. Truly there were such places amazing and scary. Our guide, the dog should not be forgotten, actually the way along the river we were travelling was not the way for dog. It seemed almost impossible but it always searched and found the most optimal way and surprised us with its keen sense while we were still struggling to climb down. We traveled quite a distance along the river, then one of my friends had to face little accident and suffer from some minor injuries. So we had to find and join the trail again.
So here it is, the end of our journey back to Adavikanda. The descent cost us only about 8 hours, actually at many occasions we just ran and picked up pace. As we approached Adavikanda we noticed that our guide-dog had vanished and had no trace of him. Later I heard stories about these kinds animals helping humans just like this in Sri Pada, well as I heard they were supposed to be gods in the form of animals. Well, I’m not sure about that but what I am sure about is we left only foot prints and took only photographs.